The fourth nor’easter in three weeks is about to hit the U.S. Northeast, potentially dropping as much as a foot of snow on New York and Boston and shutting down government offices in Washington.
Snow is expected to start late Tuesday, hitting Washington with 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters). New York could get as much as 14 inches, starting Tuesday night and accumulating mainly on Wednesday. Boston is forecast to get 11 inches, the National Weather Service said.
“Confidence is growing it will produce some significant snow,” said Dan Petersen, a forecaster with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
If the storm shuts down the federal government, as happened earlier this month, it may complicate the push to get legislation in place before a Friday midnight deadline to fund operations.
Three storms have already ripped across the Northeast this month, dropping snow by the foot from Long Island to Boston. More than 2 million customers were without power during the worst of the nor’easters, which also caused high seas and flooding along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to New Jersey. More than 9,100 flights were canceled.
The latest systems is hitting in two waves. It began early Tuesday in Washington and Baltimore with rain that’s expected to later change into sleet and freezing rain, said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.
The heavier snow will start late Tuesday in Washington and then come north to New York where the heaviest accumulations will greet morning commuters on Wednesday. Boston’s snow will start later on Wednesday.
Winter storm warnings are in effect from western North Carolina to Massachusetts. As of 7 a.m. 268 flights had been scrubbed for Tuesday, mainly in Philadelphia, New York and Boston according to FlightAware.
“Severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible,” the weather service said. “If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”